Leafy greens are among the most widely consumed vegetables and an important part of an overall healthy diet. However, while millions of servings are consumed safely every day, leafy greens have been repeatedly associated with illnesses caused by Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), the most common of which is E. coli O157:H7. FDA is committed to breaking this cycle of reoccurring outbreaks.
Over the last several years the FDA and partners in the public and private sectors have worked to enhance the safety of leafy greens through the development and implementation of the Leafy Greens STEC Action Plan (LGAP). This work includes prioritized inspections, focused sampling, stakeholder engagement and collaboration, data sharing, root cause investigations, and advancements in the science of detection and prevention.
Collectively, this work has expanded our body of knowledge about how and why outbreaks linked to leafy greens have occurred, which has guided and informed the evolution of the action plan over the years. Still, we know that we cannot fix the issue of leafy green contamination on our own. Industry leadership, along with collaboration among growers, processors, retailers, state partners, and the broader agricultural community, is critical to establishing needed prevention measures and preventing foodborne illness.
The following table provides the approaches for three priority areas: Prevention, Response, and Addressing Knowledge Gaps, as well as accomplishments that have been made since the action plan launched in March 2020.